Watching The Inconvenient Truth, a movie produced by former US vice-president Al Gore, was a turning point for Mana Chatterjee. The year was 2009 and the message about the impending global climate crisis impelled her to dig deeper into the subject. Mana spent a year researching various things that she could do in the ‘green’ field and so Green Practices was born! “People like us who live in a city and want to live a more sustainable lifestyle would like to do our bit, but we just don’t know how,” she says. So her online store which started in 2011, offers products that do not harm our planet or our skin.
The products are sourced from various manufacturers, while Green Practices Pvt Ltd, takes responsibility for quality control, inventory management, customised production and on-time supply. The products are sold worldwide and the company takes pride in following ethical business practices.
One of its most popular products is the eco-friendly lord Ganesh which she promotes with the tag line “Because Lord Ganesha loves his Mother Earth…”. Instead of toxic colours and plaster of Paris used in regular Ganesh idols, which end up killing fish and polluting waters, the eco-Ganesh idols are made from mud and coloured with natural colours of haldi, kumkum and multani mitti. When immersed (after the festival), the idols dissolve in 20 minutes and no harm will come to our planet. Remember, Lord Ganesha’s Mother is our Mother. Mana jokes, “The way I see it, respect His (Ganesha’s) mom and you will gain His blessing too.”
Green Practices offers a range of beautiful eco-friendly Ganesha idols that can be bought online. It also has beautiful looking home and community organic waste composters, organic Holi colours made with vegetables and plants, bio-degradable plastic bags and eco-friendly, disposable tableware made out of palm leaves. Mana also promotes organic farmers and feminine hygiene products that will reduce the pile up of non-biodegradable waste.
Mumbai generates 8,000 tonnes of garbage every single day. The waste is dumped in landfills which release methane gas that hovers over the vast dumping grounds of our cities. Landfills all over the world are responsible for 25% of greenhouse gases leading to global warming. “How long can we ignore this issue? Our future generations will suffer! What kind of planet are we leaving for them?” asks Mana passionately.
Green Practices’ daily dump composters are a fuss-free, smell-free, easy solution to convert this organic waste into compost. These are available for homes, schools, hospitals, factories, anywhere where food is cooked.
Traditionally, in India, we used to play Holi with natural colours made from flowers like tesu and palash which made our skin glow. Now, we end up with noxious industrial chemicals that do not wash off even a week after the Holi festival is celebrated. Chemical-based colours are usually made of asbestos (a known carcinogen even in minute quantities) and silica which can dry the skin intensively. Colourants used in gulal comprise heavy metals like lead, chromium, cadmium, nickel, mercury, zinc, iron. They are bad for our health as well as the environment. Holi is a way of celebrating triumph of good over evil and should be the best time to introduce green practices and colours in our lives.
The eco-friendly colours offered by Mana are made from plants and vegetables like rice, beet root, indigo flowers, turmeric and use 50% less water to wash off.
Mana is working on this project as a social enterprise. She welcomes donations but there is no income-tax exemption available to donors. Readers are welcome to donate and to try these products out for their own families and to help sustain mother earth.
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